Sorry to hear things went down that way, but it 's been discussed many times
before on the list... the key ingredients seem to be:

1. get a contract in writing to begin with

2. provide estimates of the time required, and UPDATE THESE ESTIMATES as the
brief changes, so that they know that every "little thing" they change will
cost them time

3. get a deposit on the estimated development costs OR

4. get part-payments, broken up perhaps into weeks or months... this again
gives them a feeling for how much everything is costing, and ensures you get
paid along the way... as long as they keep up payments, you keep working...
the risk is then only that the LAST month's work is unpaid... clearly a much
smaller risk.

There are some other ideas as well:

1. keep the code on your server ONLY until payment is made... they should be
willing to pay based on completion of the work... when you buy a car, the
give you the keys AFTER you sign the cheque, so why should programming be
any different?

2. encoding... include little bombs in your encoded scripts which will
"break" the code after x months unless payment is made... although encoding
is an expensive option.

Your only chance is to find yourself legally secure, which comes in the form
of signed contracts.  If this guy isn't paying, and you have a signed
contract, then your only chance of getting the money back would be through
lawyers.  If you don't have anything signed, I don't like your chances of
seeing that money again, or the code.

Good luck,


on 23/11/02 12:54 PM, Axis Computers ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:

> Hi to all fellow collegues,
> Here is the story, a while ago I've signed an NDA with a company from Los
> Angeles, the agreement was for programming (PHP, Perl, Java, Javascript),
> designing and other tasks, and payment was established on a fixed hourly
> rate, the guy in charge,
> was very impatient and I had to answer his queries almost instantaneously,
> besides he just throw in scripts, and pieces of code,
> that were very badly documented and required intense study, and reverse
> engineer, one of the tasks was to generate a template from an html code, and
> the proper scripts, well I had to get acquainted with everything in the
> server, and to study and understand many scripts, and the database and so
> forth, the thing is I had to work an average of thirteen hours per day,
> for a very low hourly rate, but I accepted that conditions, the thing
> happened when I finished the template and also developed a frontend for a
> java applet , and delivered it,
> and he asked me how much I was charging for the job, I calculated the hours
> and told him because I had to spend too many hours studying everything, I
> took of f  24 hs. from the fee, well after he received the estimate he
> didn't answer anything, he didn't pay me, he refused to answer all the
> emails I send him, trying to explain things out, and telling him if he
> thinks there were so many hours they can be somewhat balanced with faster
> future development, and I we can renegotiate, I was really open,offering
> even to just charge development hours and not study hours, the answer was a
> complete silence, he just revoked
> my privileges to the server and that's it, not even a single word.
> So, I'm asking you fellow programmers, for guidance in a situation like
> this, I just have to say goodbye and forget it or is there something I can
> do to get at least something for my efforts ?
> Thank you all in advance for any assistance.
> Ricardo Fitzgerald
> AXIS Computers
> P.S. Needless to say I'm workless and because of my country economic
> situation I really don't know when I'm going to work again ...
> __________________________________________________________________ Omni
> ICQ#: 37031810 Current ICQ status: + More ways to contact me
> __________________________________________________________________

Justin French
Web Developent & 
Graphic Design

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